Richmond District – San Francisco, CA

San Francisco’s largely residential Richmond District is located in the northwest portion of the peninsula, south of the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. This area’s known for its proximity to the coast, cooler temperatures and foggy weather. The Richmond District also houses one of the city’s larger Chinese communities outside of Chinatown, with a huge array of Asian restaurants to choose from. Locals cite the lower rents and neighborhood feel as the primary reasons to move to the area, especially since the commute to the city center and business district is relatively easy.

Schools in Richmond District

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

The Richmond District's restaurants can mostly be found off Clement Street. Though the neighborhood is synonymous with Chinese food and many great eateries can be found, it also features Burmese, German, Polish, sushi, Vietnamese, and American options. Chapeau does the neighborhood right, with French classics like terrine de foie de volaille and traditional escargots de Bougogne. Just leave room for a freshly made pastry or tart and a glass of dessert wine. Some of the options at Burma Superstar may be new to you, but after you get a good look at the menu you'll probably see much that's familiar. Try the vegetarian noodles or the Burmese chicken and shrimp casserole if you're feeling more adventurous. Cafe Europa provides what might be the area's most surprising culinary pleasures, serving up German and Polish comfort food perfect for the neighborhood's cooler temperatures. Cream of mushroom soup, veal schnitzel, and goulash are done with care from these pros, keeping locals coming back year after year. The Richmond District hosts many bars and chances to sing your heart out during karaoke. The Hearth is a cozy neighborhood joint with a game room, while the Richmond Republic Draught House has more of a pub feel. Happy Lounge is a straight-up dive bar with cheap drinks and a decent jukebox. When you feel like singing, check out Kama Karaoke Bar & Lounge. Neck of the Woods is a terrific live music venue that also offers dance classes. The Plough & Stars is an authentic Irish pub complete with live Celtic music. Another Irish pub, Ireland's 32, has been in business for more than 50 years. This pub features traditional pub fare, beverages that include Guinness and Harp, and live music five nights a week (with karaoke on Sunday and Tuesday nights).

History & Culture

The Richmond District was originally a series of rolling sand dunes from the city’s west coast moving inland. Adolph Sutro, a land developer, began to settle the area in the late 19th century, building the Sutro Baths near Ocean Beach. Housing was in short supply following the 1906 earthquake, so Sutro and others developed the land to create a “streetcar suburb.” Over time, many anti-Communist Russians, as well as Irish and Jewish immigrants, began to settle here and, beginning in the 1950s, Chinese immigrants also began to trickle into the neighborhood. Today, Chinese-Americans make up more than half of the area’s population. The Richmond District has gone through many cultural shifts in its history and remains fairly diverse today. Though it houses no museums, many smaller galleries and performance spaces bolster the art scene, including Park Life, Westside Art House and Shan-Yee Poon School of Performing Arts.

Transportation

San Francisco’s reputation as a tough parking city is only marginally better in the Richmond District. Because it’s a residential area and draws fewer people than the city center, it’s a little easier to find a metered space for parking, and locating a spot in a garage or parking lot will cost you less than in San Francisco proper. Locals prefer to walk or use public transportation. Muni trains and buses offer several routes in the area and into the city’s main business district. Hailing a cab is also easy, as is arranging an Uber pickup. The Richmond District is most accessible to the 1, which moves north to the Golden Gate Bridge as well as the south to the 280. The area has many bike lanes throughout, making it a very safe place for cyclists.

Cost

Though San Francisco’s prices are notoriously higher than that of the nation in general, Richmond District is one of the city’s more reasonable in terms of cost of living, attracting families, singles and professionals. A single-bedroom apartment usually rents for about $1,571 per month. The relatively lower cost of housing means that food and entertainment are also lower across the board. Rents are a little lower than in the central areas of San Francisco, making it one of the first places most visitors prefer to live when they first move to the city. It costs around $2.50 to get to the city center by bus or train. A beer at a local pub costs around $5-6, and gas is typically about 15% higher in this area than the national average.

Shopping

Though the Richmond District supports some chain stores like Safeway, most of its stores are usually smaller and more neighborhood-friendly. Kasha Studio Fashion Boutique has women’s clothing and jewelry for sale, Foggy Notion provides the area’s home décor and gifts, and Seedstore has cute men’s and women’s clothing from local and national designers. Other than one Safeway store, the neighborhood supports lots of small grocers like Richmond New May Wah Supermarket, Arguello Super Market, and 101 Super Mart. Many of these local markets carry unique ethnic ingredients and produce. The Richmond District also has two farmers markets that bring fresh fruits and vegetables to locals. The Clement Street Farmers Market happens on Sundays, and the 4th Avenue & Geary Farmers Market is technically a store, but still features tons of fresh produce at prices considerably cheaper than Whole Foods. Both are popular with locals looking to score some healthy food.

Parks

This area has many parks and green spaces serving its residents and visitors, including Mountain Lake Park, Rossi Park, Argonne Community Garden and Muriel Leff Mini Park. Though each has a slightly different personality, there are lots of opportunities to run with your doggie, get your hands dirty planting and weeding, or just hang out in the grass waiting for the fog to clear. Patrons visit local parks to clear their heads, relax and drink in the great neighborhood atmosphere. Parks are free, kid- and dog-friendly, and great places for working out, jogging, yoga or a spontaneous bike ride. The Free Folk Festival is held in this area in June, featuring a wide array of musical styles, from Arabic and Spanish to Greek, African, and Indian.
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